Share Your Stories at The Great Flood of 1986 Website (Interview)

For Friday, Sept. 16, 2016 –

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/g6ua4wt47i0q974/great-flood-1986-website-mrgreatlakes-9-16-2016.mp3]

1 – Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan State University and the Bay County Historical Society have launched a new website, 30 years later.

The website at 1986Flood.com was developed as part of a project to collect and preserve stories from Michigan’s Great Flood of 1986.

great-flood-1986-website-michigan

Residents who lived through the storm can submit stories, memories, and photographs to be featured on the site and entered into the permanent archives at the Historical Museum of Bay County.

The project is hosting events for people to share their memories in person with historians and get their photos scanned for preservation.

The first event was Thursday, Sept. 15, in Bay City.

The second event is Tuesday, Sept. 27, from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Chippewa Nature Center in Midland.

The 30th anniversary of storm occurred this past weekend. Project organizers say it should remind us of the importance of preparing for extreme storm events at the individual and community level.

Two simple actions you can take to prepare for future floods include having a plan, and building an emergency kit.

You can find more information on preparing for future floods and links to local and national flood preparedness resources at 1986Flood.com.

2 – Remembering the 30th anniversary of the flood of 1986 is part of a larger project for Michigan State University Extension.

Katy Hintzen, with the Bay County Extension office, says an $80,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is being used to improve resilency in the Saginaw Bay watershed.

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Extreme Storm Survey, Saginaw Bay Fishing Regs and Solar Design

For Friday, Oct. 23, 2015

q901falldrive

1 – Bay County is surveying residents on extreme storm impacts.

County officials say extreme storm events present a serious threat to community health, safety, and economic stability.

Credit: Erik Drost

Credit: Erik Drost

The survey was developed by Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan State University Extension, and other local collaborators in the Saginaw Bay region.

The results of the survey will inform future projects to improve community preparedness and reduce extreme storm impacts in the 22 counties that make up the Saginaw Bay watershed.

According to Michigan Sea Grant, the watershed is particularly vulnerable to storm hazards because of the region’s unique topography and land-use patterns. The Saginaw Bay watershed drains about 15 percent of the state of Michigan.

The survey is online and takes about 10 minutes to complete. It will close on Nov. 16.

2 – The Michigan Natural Resources Commission has approved changes to walleye and yellow perch recreational fishing regulations for Saginaw Bay.

For walleye, the daily possession limit is increased from five to eight fish. The minimum size limit is reduced from 15 to 13 inches. For yellow perch, the daily possession limit is reduced from 50 to 25 fish.

Officials say walleye have recovered and are abundant in Saginaw Bay. This is good news, but walleye are now depressing the available prey base and the population of adult yellow perch has been greatly reduced.

The Department of Natural Resources says the changes are the start of a new management process where future fish possession and size limits will be tied to the status of the walleye population.

3 – A Student Solar Design Competition will award $10,000 in total prize money. It’s open to undergraduate and graduate students from any Michigan college.  

solar map us

Via NREL

Registration for the competition closes on Oct. 31. Submissions are due on Nov. 25.

The competition is put being on by Michigan State University.

The challenge is design a solar panel array that can be integrated into a campus landscape.

The competition will award three cash prizes for first, second and third place. The winning team also may receive assistance to strengthen the design concept and bring the idea to life.

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– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

Follow @jeffkart on Twitter

Septic Tanks Don’t Work, Restoration Does

For Friday, Aug, 7, 2015

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/ng90urix4mxpayo/8-7-15-environment-report-mrgreatlakes.mp3]

1 – Great Lakes restoration projects are coming to Northeast Michigan.

Sustain Our Great Lakes, a public-private partnership, is funding 20 projects at a total cost of more than $5.7 million.

That money includes $350,000 to Huron Pines, a nonprofit in Gaylord.

Huron Pines will use $115,000 to restore more than 350 acres of wetland and shoreline habitat by controlling invasive species, planting native buffers, and reconnecting upland and wetland habitat.

Another $235,000 will be used in the Au Gres River Watershed, to replace five road–stream crossings, install in-stream habitat structures, and implement agricultural conservation practices.

Other grants went to conservation organizations and public agencies in Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

2 – Researchers at Michigan State University say, bluntly, that “septic tanks aren’t keeping poo out of rivers and lakes.”

poo sign michigan msu septic tanks

Credit: Börkur Sigurbjörnsson

The researchers sampled 64 river systems in Michigan for E. coli and human fecal bacteria as part of largest watershed study of its kind to date.

Sample after sample, bacterial concentrations were highest where there were higher numbers of septic systems in the watershed area.

It has been assumed that soil can filter human sewage, working as a natural treatment system. Unfortunately, such systems do not keep E. coli and other pathogens from water supplies, the researchers say.

The MSU study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers say information from the study is vital for improving management decisions for locating, constructing, and maintaining on-site wastewater treatment systems.

3 – Old habitat is being reopened to Saginaw Bay fish.

A Frankenmuth fish passage project began last week. The work will reconnect fish of the Saginaw Bay to more than 70 miles of historically significant spawning areas.

Construction crews are assembling a “rock rapids” system along the Cass River, which will allow passage of walleye, sturgeon and other fish beyond the a dam to areas that have not been accessible for more than 150 years.

Early work on the project was supported by the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network, headquartered in Bay City.

The project should be mostly complete by mid-September.

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– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

Follow @jeffkart on Twitter

Happy Fish, Environmental Citizenship & the Michigan Envirothon

The Michigan Environment Report, as heard @ 9 a.m. Eastern on Fridays @ Q-90.1 FM

photo happy fish jon evans flickr

Photo by Jon Evans

Fish Passage

Fish are moving again in a Northeast Michigan trout stream.

Ten road-stream crossings over Silver Creek, a stream that flows into a tributary of Lake Huron, were recently improved by the Huron Pines conservation group.

The new culverts allow fish and other aquatic critters to move throughout the creek.

The old crossings either blocked the natural movement of fish or contributed to sediment runoff, and covered prime fish spawning areas.

The Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition calls the Silver Creek Project a success story.

The $600,000 project was also involved state, federal and private agencies. Huron Pines is headquartered in Grayling.

Patience is a Virtue

Are you a good environmental citizen?

If you’re patient, persistent and confident, the answer is yes.

Michigan State University researchers have been studying the character traits of good problem solves and deliberators.

They say that when people are talking about tough issues, like climate change and sustainability, certain virtues help discussions go more smoothly.

To be a good environmental citizen, then, you should possess virtues that make people feel included and engaged, while producing results.

That includes 14 traits, such as friendliness, empathy, courage, temperance, sincerity, humility, self-confidence, and patience.

The problem, say the researchers, is that educational system isn’t preparing people to deal with environmental issues that are sure to be increasingly discussed in years to come.

Teams Needed

The Envirothon is on.

The 2012 Canon Envirothon competition is looking for participants from Great Lakes states.

According to Great Lakes Echo, teams will compete in outdoor challenges that test their understanding of soils, land use, aquatic ecology, forestry, wildlife and current environmental issues.

Students also can conduct volunteer projects and give presentations about their experiences.

The Michigan Envirothon program is planning regional competitions during March throughout the state, including one in Grayling and another in Lapeer.

A state competition is planned for May at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie.
The national competition is held in Pennsylvania in July.

For more information, see the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts website at macd.org

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